Summit Personalized Learning Platform creates privacy concerns
- The Summit Personalized Learning Platform, first designed by charter school teachers in California and then developed by Facebook engineers, has prompted concern from some parents over the privacy of their children’s data.
- The Washington Post reports schools participating in the Summit Basecamp program — which provides access to the personalized learning platform, complete curricula across four subjects for grades six through 12 and ongoing support — ask parents to sign consent forms releasing their children’s personal data to companies like Google and Facebook.
- While the number of students and schools using the Summit platform is growing, some critics say Basecamp’s privacy terms are too broad and that once it shares student data with companies it decides to, those companies’ privacy guidelines take over even if they are more lax — but Summit CEO Diane Tavenner says this is necessary to protect the school as it offers a free service.
As schools across the country have embraced digital technology and online learning tools, privacy concerns have been a steady undercurrent. Schools handle this differently. Some ask parents to opt out of activities that would result in their children’s data being shared, while others ask parents to take the more proactive step of opting in.
Districts must think carefully about entering into any new contracts that would require a transfer of student data. Third-party vendors often ask for more student information than they necessarily need to offer their products or services. Many schools make a point of negotiating with companies to limit the amount of student information they share. And Tustin Unified School District in California asks teachers to get approval for new learning apps from the central office so IT leaders can confirm appropriate security and privacy levels.
- The Washington Post Facebook-backed school software shows promise — and raises privacy concerns
- Education Dive Facebook-backed LMS gives students more lesson plan power
- Education Dive Keeping student data safe while at the mercy of third parties
Follow Tara García Mathewson on Twitter